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Why is it hard to find love for Software testing?

The quest to answer this questions started early in the year just after the festive season. Coming back from the festive season lot of people looked like the air of freedom the festive brought was short-lived.Now all that is left is to swallow a bitter pill called their job to be able to repay the debt incurred during the festive.Some were even convinced that January has 60 days.  We spend the most portion of our 24 hours at work and if that’s the case why not quit? Why do you do software testing? Why do you love it? Why do you hate it?  I asked these questions to some of my colleagues and I got more or less same answers listed below.

  1. It pays the bills, was the prevalent answer
  2. It’s not about love, it’s about doing what’s required.
  3. I am not appreciated, My existence is noticed only when things go wrong in production.

 

Based on the mini survey I did, I would say it is safe to assume that no one joined testing because they had the passion for it. Then I got curious, maybe if they felt passionate about testing most of them wouldn’t be miserable at work.  How does one find passion because you can’t go buy it at your favourite mall aisle at two? I had to find out how those who found their passion did it?

I searched the world wild web only to find that following your passion is one of the crappiest advise a person can give you. I was a bit confused, most successful people will tell you to follow your passion. After few weeks of reading about finding your mojo, I came across a book that talked about exactly what I wanted to know. ” So good they cant ignore you by Cal Newport”, why Skills trump passion in the quest for Work you love. This fellow is on to something. First, we had to establish what is software testing to you by defining the following terms that are often used interchangeably. Secondly, we delve into how to move from one stage to another.

  1. As a Job: a way to pay bills.
  2. As a  career: a path towards increasingly better work(progress, fun, value-add).
  3. As a calling: work that is an important part of your life and a vital part of your identity.

 

The first definition we can all relate to it. The second definition can be achieved in software testing only if it is presented in the right perspective. You don’t love what you do because you focused on loving it, but because the impact it made in people’s life mattered. Since it is quite hard to establish a fan base from the developer, business analysts and project managers. Let’s try to do that with people that know you and will be biased just to boost your ego. When you explain software testing to them they don’t quite get it but they can see you are psyched about it and you feel good about the value-add you make at work. The software system you test, they don’t get to use because they don’t know how. You are working hard testing system that your family, relatives, and community will never have a pleasure of using to better their lives. We still have long queues at the banks with online banking being around for a while.  You have detected a bug that would have enabled the bank to charge them added charges because of the algorithm not considering public holidays. To your friends and family, you sound more like those guys in movies who prevents bad things from happening. You can’t let bad things happen to prove that you add value, this could lead to loss of life, financial loss and or reputation. No one in your community will ever see you in action like a fireman.

Since explaining your role at work didn’t go well with your family and community, the next best thing that could show that you are successful is that flashy car. Now they know you are the man. You enjoy weekends more than weekdays because at home is where you get attention and feel valued. At work you and the software bugs you discover you are synonymous. At your workplace is where you need to put the fight to be heard. Developers are the ones that create the problems you are accountable to spot before they make everyone look bad. Before we start pointing fingers lets look at own fault when it comes to reporting things that business don’t understand or value.

South Africa is a funny country, software testing is not fairly understood such that you have instances whereby a retail store floor manager is given a software testing manager position. Well, what can go wrong management is management? Lack of experience in this field or having two years experience in testing with ISTQB foundation certificate won’t equip you well enough to manage, encourage and sell testing to stakeholders better.

Most testers cannot translate the issues they found in QA into monetary terms of how much waste was averted, they never get to pat themselves on the back. When a tester runs 200 test cases out of thousand test cases, the project manager sees the outstanding 800 test cases, but because some testers cannot communicate that the already executed test cases have reduced 80% of the identified risks. They just stand there and take an earful from the project manager with an incompetent test manager by his side nodding. Don’t run to the bathroom and cry as you have learned the number of test cases gives your test manager and project manager comfort. Find a way to run your test cases faster, Automate some of the regression tests. When it is difficult to meet unreasonable demands upskill yourself. Force yourself through the harsh learning curve and the skill will come.

When what you do yields results that make a difference in one form or the other, passion is sure to germinate.  Quote from Black Glover anime suggest that merit when piled up makes people respect you, your opinion and depend on you. When you have the feeling of efficiency and your co-workers depend on you, strong relationships are forged. When you see your results benefiting someone, the feeling of gratitude is achieved. When you do something repeatedly such that to people looking from outside your efficiency is nothing short of a miracle. they don’t need to understand how you do it but the condition you succeed in. Bruce Lee said he fears a man who practices 1 kick thousand times than a man who practices thousand kicks ones.

 love for Software testing

The flower above is not attractive because of its size but because people are realizing how unique and persistent it must be to grow in a place not conducive for it to thrive. it’s like a fish swimming upstream. Software testing requires one to be brave, flexible, and be able to learn, unlearn and relearn. The current software demands expect testers to test faster, better and cheaper. When you overcome what makes most people quit testing, testing becomes a calling for you. Shonda Rhimes, she is best known as the creator, head writer, executive producer – the showrunner of the television medical drama Grey’s Anatomy, its spin-off Private Practice, and the political thriller series Scandal. She calls being in the zone about what you do  “The Hum”, refer to this blog  https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/02/17/shonda-rhimes-ted-talk-hum/. When software testing is fun for you from planning to reporting. When you find yourself doing it in the comfort of your own home with anything you lay your hands on, free mobile apps, websites, and test tools.You don’t love testing and then venture into it, the enjoyment of software testing comes long after you have developed a thick skin, nerve of steel and an attitude of a badger. when any task under testing space can be done in more than one way and you are spoiled for choice.I don’t know when I started to love testing but also I can’t remember when I hated testing. I always remember that you cant do it half-heartedly and produce results worth praising.

Passion is the side effect of mastery….…Cal Newport.

 

 

3 Comments

Rebone

Great Article I must say, I’m a tester myself & I would like to speak about value, either adding it or being valued. Testing costs more than any other phase in the SDLC before Production/Maintenance, isn’t it a global knowledge?, then why business people, developers, project managers still behaves like they don’t understand that, why even today do I still have a business representative who’d still go to as far as asking, “..the developer took a day on this component, why do you need 2weeks?”, how stupid is that, back in the day we’d understand that they do not understand that for a LogIn component for instance I can have up to 10 Test cases, the proportionality of which is not even closely related to the number of days/hours the developer took. I’m having an ex floor manager as a testing manager, how will he/she understand my prioritization on coverage? how will she understand why I prioritize more on integration testing rather than functional?, why are we not taken serious?. It is bad enough that I have business people, developers, project managers who don’t understand my impact & don’t really think it adds value to their goals but now I have a head who doesn’t know anything about this profession & will never understand your view & will always request things to be done the only way she know how. Everyone don’t know why I’m here, when they on tv they thank & give praises to the DEVS about this innovative app, as it is live, 6 months down the line there’s a defect, only then, the glory & appreciations descends to us. How’d you find passion with this profession with this much value?

    admin

    I couldn’t have put it much better myself Ma Guy. All I know is that giving up is not an option but then again a friend told me that after you are passionate and adding value, the other way this profession will suck the living daylight out of you is that you don’t get paid market-related compensation.

      Rebone

      How on point you are, but with lack of understanding, how could they not. In a production influenced environment, the miner rather than the engineer is the core of production, the mechanic rather than the accountant, the developer rather than the tester, I could go on, we could only be appreciated if only it’s understood how we are interdependent to produce at highest quality, otherwise the miner will always be raised high omitting the fact that the engineer provides tools, machinery, researches in order to facilitate quality in production, comes up with new ideas, finds solutions, and many other reasons. At least some industries understand, maybe in time we’ll get there!

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